Archive for the ‘angels’ Category

The Sisterhood Lives

img_0883She thought transformative was too big of a word to describe the Northern California Women’s Herbal Symposium.  Now Mom understands that “transform” barely covers the metamorphosis that occurs with symposium sisters after four glorious days supporting, accepting and loving each other.

We all arrive in Laytonville tired from the journey, maybe even a little grumbly.  Some of us travel 14 hours to get into the woods on Black Oak Ranch. But for those of us who have been here before, we know it’s worth it. img_7357

We have come home to the sisterhood and are ready to have our burdens lifted. We long to breathe clear air into the stress around our complaints and concerns from the outside world and make room for more love. We fuss a little over where to set up the tent or how best to arrange our sleeping bags in the tipi but know it will all work out in the end. We just have to get out of the worrying pattern.

img_0845Mom and I arrived at noon and schlepped our sleeping gear, my books and pottery from car to tipi – getting to those 10,000 steps easily. I wanted Mom to step into the independent woman I knew her to be and honor her as Crone as well. After 40 years of teaching this was her first September not in school. I felt anxious how best to hold her up while leaving space for the sisterhooimg_5174d to empower her AND carve out time to share my teachings, receive support from my friends and revel, just a bit.

Thirteen of us shared a tipi with some personality conflicts and snoring that would just have to be overlooked. That first evening it’s almost difficult to imagine how we can possible shake off the discomfort, set down the masks we wear and allow our own unique expression of the Divine Feminine to shine forth.

The transformation usually takes a breakdown to have the breakthrough.

Mine began as I prepared for my class Womyn Meets Death, which I created based on the experience of walking beside Melinda Listening Deer in her last year of Life then losing her. I was terrified of doing this wrong, not honoring Melinda “enough” and felt inadequate to teach this class. I was teaching on Melinda’s birthday. I set myself an alarm, giving myself 30 minutes to feel whatever arose and dropped into sacred space to read through some of Melinda’s 13-yimg_6303ear-old emails that she had sent out Grove Mother during our sacred year as The Sisterhood of the Willow’s Magic. As the tears flowed, a mama deer and her fawn encircled where I lay. Melinda’s presence was with me.

And yet I still asked Reem to walk with me to the class site. She hugged me and told me I’d be okay. Pilar found me and gave me the notes I had forgotten, but asked her to bring, then forgotten again. Mom walked by as I set up the altar and gave me the thumbs up. Tiffany stood in the back of the assembled 40 womyn and smiled proudly at me. Even Kris walked on by.

And I began. “We all stumble around death and grief.” I looked down to the picture of Melinda. “I’m not so much teaching this class as holding space for a sharing and ritual around death. We all handle bearing witness to dying and death so differently and each deserve dignity for our process. We have done a great job reclaiming our right to sacred births and now it’s time to reclaim a sacred death.” Then I passed around a tincture called Emotional Ally and Rescue Remedy.

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I shared this bumper sticker with Melinda when she went bald after chemo and the tumor had started to protrude from her belly. I shared it at ritual and how Melinda started going out bald in public after this .

It went around a few times while Copperwoman sang Goddess is the Universe, my new favorite. I swear every single woman had tears in her eyes at some point in the next hour and a half. “That’s okay!” I said during the creation of the Earth Blessing Pouches that we would later keep on the altar or scatter to the earth like ashes. “Mama Earth Loves Your Tears!” We shared stories and infused holiness into the transition between Life and The Other Side.

It was so beautiful, so empowering. I eased into my Living a Magickful class for teens, not really thinking too much about it until I was before seven teens, most of whom couldn’t look me in the eye. How could I get and keep their attention? I spoke of the magical connections related to the four directions and gave them four examples of issues they could possibly be faced with and four herbal allies. I told them they would only get to take one herb – one problem at a time. “One day, your issues will have issues.”  But to nail down the point I had them add their birth year, month and day and reduce to a single digit then read from The Enchanted Diary about the lessons that will follow them throughout their life. I asked the girls if they would want to take on all seven archetypes. No? Okay, only one herb. I’m a bad ass teacher with teens.

img_0882At night the bone-fire blazed higher and hotter. Each time I danced around the fire, I got a little looser, a little freer. Apparently this gave my mom permission to get a bit more of her boogie on. She was on fire!!! “Vivas Las Crones!” she hollered at the ceremony.

I sold an amazing amount of books and pottery. So grateful for the support of my img_0869new art form. So incredibly grateful my books still sell. Tucked away in the tipi was the first print out of Melinda My Beloved, A Memoir. My first book in 8 years. I will now write a chapter about the experiences of symposium and the sisterhood that lives on.

Room to be Wild Part I

Homework Assignment from Deep Storytelling and Archetypal Activism: Sketch out the issue to be addressed, describe how it has spoken to you imaginally, outline the response this calls for, and mention how such a project could transform you and the issue.

Derby Playhouse production of  A Midsummer Nights Dream.   ©Keith Pattison 5 Swinburne Place Newcastle upon Tyne NE4 6EA tel/fax 0191 2610884 mobile 07703 560871 vat no 605 6235 59 e mail:  mail@keithpattison.com

Derby Playhouse production of A Midsummer Nights Dream. ©Keith Pattison

PART 1

Our culture has lost its wildness. On the whole, we have lost the ability to feel the unfettered freedom and sense of belonging of a well-loved child. We have made nature dirty and a fearful place to be. And in doing so, we have squashed the most free-spirited aspects of our innate feral nature and in the same fell swoop cast ourselves outside of this veritable Garden of Eden. Without our wildness, it is difficult to access emotional honesty because such rawness must be contained as a rule of a dignified society. We cannot allow for the impulsive, unpredictable puckish

behavior inside, nor without. We condemn those who would take to wanderlust or spend days just being in naturally wild places. We have desecrated wild lands by covering them with asphalt and shopping malls and squeezed out the coyotes and rattlesnakes to make room for another subdivision. This sterile, linear civilization has become the mirror to our own taming and created a fear-based, trivial existence.

Comfort Creates Apathy

Millais_-_OpheliaWhen we strive for personal comfort and convenience in favor of connection and community we develop an apathetic indifference to the downstream effect of our actions. We pretend that we can cut the cords to our collective soul both from our ancestors and descendants. Even though this separation is imagined and not real, it is powerful enough to make it so that we cannot hear the voice in the wind or see the wisdom of the changing seasons as metaphors for spiritual awakening. We forget that the world is in constant communication with us and seek only to control and contain the mystery. We no longer know the phases of the moon or signs of impending rain or grow our own food. We no longer remember the power of one person or one act of positive thinking or connect to the value of tribe. The loss of our inner knowing that we belong to a loving, connected web of conscious souls in various forms whose lone purpose is to adamantly live the light of an individual spirit has plunged our society into a collective madness.

Summer Desires

stjohnswort-woodcutI’m feeling the growing light encouraging me to step more fully into my own light as we get closer to Summer Solstice. My herbal ally for this journey is St. John’s Wort which blooms at the Summer Solstice and has served to drive out illness and evils worldwide for centuries. The flower has been placed at the statues of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses and Christian saint to invoke protection through Light.  It affects our serotonin levels, which impact our ability to feel happiness, and it works as a nervine. The red spots on Saint John’s wort’s foliage are said to mimic the stigmata and the oil turns red like the blood of passion. St. John’s Wort reminds us that it is our Light that leads us to our greatest work in this life.
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I find happiness and joy when my life is full of magick in nature and my work is centered on bringing a magickfull life to a wider audience. But that can be damn scary in a world where people get scared and intimidated by the word spell and are inspired and comforted by the word prayer.  Even though they are essentially the same thing. I have been denied work because a potential client read my website and saw my books were about magick. I have been ridiculed and challenged at book signings and radio interviews. I have been recalled from giving a speech at a public school and told to pick up my books because the board found my Teen Spell Book. I have had family members refuse to talk to me when articles about my writings have been published. Not to mention the fear memory of persecution.

prayerSo let’s move onto the Light and clear the muddiness here. In a prayer you seek a connection with the Divine and in this holy conversation you typically ask for something that you dearly want and sometimes, you simply express your gratitude. Commonly you find a quiet space, you may clasp your hands, get on your knees, close your eyes or cast them heavenward – you do whatever makes you feel closest to the Divine.

In a spell, you also find a quiet space and take a posture in which you can toIMG_0197 feel a close spiritual communion with the Divine. From this sacred place, you ask for something that you dearly want.

Perhaps the difference is a spell is considered an act of co-creation. In a spell you are speaking to a Universal Divine Being as well as the Divine Nature within You. Symbols are brought in that represent our connection to the Divine in All Things with sacred items that represent the four directions and this thing you want: the color yellow for courage, stones for strength, a picture of lovers, a feather for freedom, etc. We use rhymes that speak directly to the right side of our brain – the creative side that sees no limitations and speaks in the world of symbols.   Often thgoddess_of_light_by_razielmb-d88buhu.pnge spell is timed with the natural cycles of life, for example, during Spring we might ask for a boost of energy for a new project and during a Dark Moon we might ask to have peace with quiet and learn how to balance rest with doing-ness. A spell is a prayer in 3D. It is a Divine Play with All the World to Create a Magickfull Life of Our Choosing. The etymology of the word spell is simply to “cast your word.” You send out your pure, strong Word with the symbols and timing that emphasize your intention.

With the sacred freedom to create with the Divine, you must accept responsibility. Four questions for every spell: 1) Have you done everything in your power to bring about your desire? 2) Will this desire harm anyone? 3) Are you ready to accept full responsibility for your desire coming true? 4) Will this spell Serve Your Highest Good?
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These answers determine the outcome of every spell and in fact, every prayer. It’s a matter of stepping into the Light and claiming all that you want and well deserve. Herbal allies like St. John’s Wort are placed here on Earth to help us see the Divine in us and all around with their sunshine yellow for courage, history of protection, chemical constituents to lift our spirits and blood red oil to give us strength to sooth nerves. Magick is everywhere.

Pennies from Heaven

gRANDPYI absolutely believe in the power and protection of loved ones from the other side. One of my most favorite Angels is my GraChicamandpy Joe who once again has reached across the veil that separates the living and wherever he is at to provide for his family.

Skyler wanted to go on a surf trip to Chicama, Peru, home of the longest left, but couldn’t imagine how to pay for it. I suggested we ask for donations in his graduation invitation with the faith that the family would rally for him. He just needed to pay it forward and trust it would come back. Our family is crazy, dramatic and above all loyal. I knew they would come through for him.

I didn’t expect to reIMG_0194ceive a call from Grandma Chris and two huge jars of coins that Grandpy had saved. He’s been gone more than 8 years and still Grandpy has found a way to give my son $240 worth of spare change for a change of air.

Grandpy used to call just to ask, “Who loves you baby?” There was a call and response routine. I would say. “You!” and send a long kiss. He would say “Caught it!” And then we would  hang up. That’s it. And I would be all warm and cozy inside, feeling loved and positively protected.

Sometimes there is just no way to deny how harsh life can be. How bruised and battered we can feel when dreams die, love leaves and work grinds out the joy. But when the angels reach through the clouds to help lift the load, I am reminded that life is but a dream and I will get through. All will be well.  I just need to look for those penniesSkyler Graduation Invite email from heaven and one way or another, they will come.

“Every time it rains, it rains pennies from heaven
Don’t you know each cloud contains pennies from heaven?
You’ll find your fortune’s fallin’ all over the town
Be sure that your umbrella is upside down

Trade them for a package of sunshine and flowers
If you want the things you love, you must have showers
So, when you hear it thunder, don’t run under a tree
There’ll be pennies from heaven for you and me.”

Pennies From Heaven is 1936 American popular song with music by Arthur Johnston and words by Johnny Burke. It was introduced by Bing Crosby in the popular movie Pennies from Heaven.